Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.
Lane Kiffin, Alabama offensive coordinator
There's a lot of good and a lot of bad here. Kiffin spent six years as an assistant to Pete Carroll on a bunch of those really good Southern California teams. That made Kiffin a hot coaching prospect, and he jumped to the NFL's Oakland Raiders for a head coaching stint that turned into a disaster of less than two years before he was fired midseason. He went back to the college ranks after that, doing a rocky one season at Tennessee in 2009 and then three mediocre years out of four at USC (as head coach) from 2010 to 2013. At a lot of his stops, Kiffin hasn't made a ton of friends.
The last two seasons, Kiffin has seen a bit of a restoration of his reputation as Alabama's offensive coordinator. With an underwhelming quarterback, Blake Sims, Kiffin in 2014 coached the Tide to a No. 5 national finish in offensive S&P+,which included a No. 3 passing ranking. It doesn't hurt to have a bunch of NFL linemen and Amari Cooper, but Kiffin has coached the hell out of his players anyway.
Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson has a stated preference for an open, flowing offense, and Kiffin definitely has that. He's one of those really good "football minds" every program wants, and he's got a modicum of winning experience. To the extent he's failed in the past, perhaps Kiffin could learn from it and not make the same mistakes at Maryland.
He's also a ruthless recruiter, having picked up a handful of five- and four-star prospects for Nick Saban's Tide. He coached USC through a period of NCAA sanctioning and still recruited to the point where the Trojans were set up fairly well by the time he got fired. He's got enough braggadocio to compete for high-end talent with the likes of Penn State's James Franklin, and he's snarly enough to rile up a fan base. (In fairness, recruiting at USC under Carroll and Alabama under Saban is not the same as recruiting at Maryland.)
For starters, Kiffin's been canned or bolted in the night from every head coaching job he's ever had. He's been connected to lots of institutional badness and accused of lots of embarrassing behavior (Google him), and he'd be expensive. Kiffin was making more than $3 million per year when USC fired him, which is way more than the approximately $2 million Maryland annually pays (and will pay next year) to Randy Edsall. Don't expect Kiffin to come cheap, and don't expect everyone to like him.
In one sentence
Kiffin has a ton of baggage, but he'd be a dominant recruiter and make Maryland, if nothing else, more fun to watch.